Robert Hofler

Robert Hofler is a critic with The Wrap. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (309)
The Wrap

"If only Crudup or, better yet, Jake Gyllenhaal (because he can sing) were playing David Engleton in Cale’s new one-person autobiographical musical...He gives himself big arias in 'Alive,' and there’s a stark rawness on display that some may find theatrically authentic. It may remind others of seeing a ballet where nobody on stage has been to class in months...Cale is far more engaging as a writer and performer when he’s using his nightmares to create other characters, other situations." Full Review

A Strange Loop
Midtown W
The Wrap

"'A Strange Loop' is genuinely breathtaking because it forces you to gasp before you break out laughing...Have I mentioned that Jackson wrote the music, lyrics, and the book for 'Loop'? Usually, that three-hat trick in the musical theater world is the mark of death. Jackson wears all hats with fabulous style." Full Review

Long Lost
Midtown W
The Wrap

“The absolute flatness of Billy’s encounters with David in his office and then Jeremy in the family’s luxurious Park Avenue apartment is punctuated only by several bombshells, which go off like clockwork every 10 minutes. Rather than ramping up the drama, these revelations about illness, incarceration, infidelities and a double homicide expose the mechanics of the plot...Aucoin and Parisse render their respective characters with far more sympathy than they deserve.” Full Review

BLKS
Midtown W
The Wrap

"Gilbert and Fuller spend too little time together on stage. O’Hara’s fiercely kinetic direction clearly suits these two gifted actors whose gangbuster portrayals take no prisoners...Barnes deftly handles her characters’ sexual fluidity, but near the end of 'BLKS' she adds a few sentimental touches that even Neil Simon didn’t resort to in his 1960s heyday...Seeing the 100-minute 'BLKS' is to tour Brooklyn at night and wake-up wasted. But in a good way." Full Review

The Wrap

"In a tour de force performance, Murphy is at one moment dealing with his grief like a normal person and the next he’s wearing a big black hoodie and speaking into a small mic attached to the sleeve that miraculously turns his mild tenor into a booming, menacing bass...'Grief' is one of those that can’t sustain beyond 90 minutes because it exhausts...This isn’t a criticism of the play and its amazing production; it’s purely intentional on the part of Porter, Walsh, and Murphy." Full Review

Ink
Midtown W
The Wrap

“The unnecessary first act of ‘Ink’ will make you marvel at Orson Welles’ economy and wit...Welles tells the story quickly. Graham shows Lamb handpicking each staff member...Much more tiresome is Graham’s need to show how newspapers were printed...Goold’s flashy musical-comedy direction can’t disguise the fact that there’s no drama in the first act...Act 2 is an improvement because a story finally emerges...To use a newspaper term, ‘Ink’ is a puff piece.” Full Review

All My Sons
Midtown W
The Wrap

"Bening makes us feel the weight of her burden...She doesn’t quite match her gifted co-star’s ease of performance on stage...Jack O’Brien’s production means to give us a very naturalistic 'All My Sons.'...Which is another problem. The grass is a little too green, the wisteria too lavender...Chris and Ann don’t make a good couple, at least as awkwardly performed by Walker and Carpanini. The two actors don’t even physically look right together." Full Review

The Wrap

"Wolfe makes sure that we wallow in inspired nastiness for a delightful, unrelenting 90 minutes...Despite all the gags, this clown-turned-worker-turned-Fool is ultimately very poignant in his quest to save the world...We see the design of Mac’s comedy, but the actors and Wolfe’s direction make it part of the spectacle, along with all those erect dicks and very low fart jokes. The imagination at work here is awesome." Full Review

Burn This
Midtown W
The Wrap

“Mayer directs...and he takes a decidedly light, comic approach to the material, especially the character of Anna...What Russell can’t do is ground Wilson’s play in some reality that makes sense of Anna’s decision...Instead, Russell and Mayer have chosen to make a joke of the whole dated enterprise...Driver gives a towering performance...Pale’s tirades show Wilson in peak form, and Driver does them full justice." Full Review

The Wrap

“Poor Marilyn Monroe. What did she ever do to end up the object of such absurd debasement in Anne Carson’s ‘Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’...Never have I seen so many walk-outs in 90 minutes...Clark has written some bluesy music for Fleming to sing, and she sounds ravishing...Whishaw’s imitation of Capote is very convincing. Regarding his Marilyn, she can best be described as Tony Perkins in a blond wig near the end of ‘Psycho’...Mitchell directs the mass confusion on stage.” Full Review

The Wrap

“Nelson-Greenberg’s provocative new play...Mercurial subversion of our expectations lies at the core of Nelson-Greenberg’s anarchic humor, as well as Bordelon’s loopy direction of her talented cast...Chukwu, Keller and Long carry the office-jerk thing to absurd levels. It’s an act that could wear thin fast but doesn’t thanks to their light helium-induced charm...Nelson-Greenberg makes her NY debut with this wild comedy. Hers is an offbeat, novel, wonderful voice.” Full Review

Ain't No Mo'
East Village
The Wrap

“Amazing new play...Repeatedly, Cooper’s writing delivers sustained absurdist comedy that comes crashing down at scene’s end, only to pick back up again for yet another wild ride through bigoted modern America. This young playwright’s satire takes no prisoners...Walker-Webb’s direction makes repeated and awesome leaps, but he and Cooper are equally good at depicting life in between the extremes.” Full Review

White Noise
East Village
The Wrap

"The four characters aren’t so much characters as they are archetypes of race, class and privilege who level stinging barbs at one another...Four remarkable monologues interspersed throughout...Each monologue is a veritable essay on the subject of race in America, and yet each is as personal and heartrending...It’s appropriate to note that Parks writes great sketch comedy...These sketches float the first act of 'White Noise,' making it the fastest 90 minutes in recent theater history." Full Review

The Wrap

"The only word less appropriate than 'diva' for O’Hara would be 'shrew.' Her masterful rendition of 'So in Love' is so heartfelt that we may overlook her rather genteel take on the Bard, but maybe not...By the way, O’Hara is in great voice throughout and has never sounded more thrilling...Scott Ellis can be credited with keeping his two leads playing from the same slightly jaded Valentine’s Day poem. He wisely keeps the more manic comedy to the show’s secondary couple." Full Review

The Wrap

"Tori Sampson takes a West African fable and turns it into an all-American cartoon...Theatergoers expecting something edgy or provocative will be disappointed...The most fascinating aspect of 'Muhf–a' is how Sampson misleads us into thinking the play is about one character when it’s really about one of the other young women. That singular pleasure, however, can’t be savored until the evening is almost over. Until then, you have to deal with confusing plot twists." Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
The Wrap

"Harris stacks 'Daddy' against one character, only to reverse or level the playing field in the next scene...Danya Taymor directs this magnificent hodgepodge of styles in a way that makes perfect sense even while we’re recovering from some absolutely startling new surprise. Taymor also has unerring taste in new playwrights." Full Review

Alice By Heart
Midtown W
The Wrap

“This version has the distinct advantage of being updated from the 19th-century to World War II London during the Blitz, and many of the liberties taken by Sater and Nelson are captivating...But sometime between the Caterpillar and the Jabberwock, the novelty wears off and the narrative isn’t strong enough to push the show forward...The lyrics are another matter...I couldn’t follow them. Reading them the next day, I found Sater’s wordplay vivid and imaginative." Full Review

Hurricane Diane
East Village
The Wrap

"Silverman’s direction makes sure that George’s biggest laughs come from the sprite one-liners, as well as the many things the housewives don’t tell each other to avoid hurt feelings. The subtext is often sublime and comes through loud and clear...It’s a post-feminist play by a female playwright giving us a very unflattering portrait of women. George’s satire on suburban living offers only two choices. Everybody can embrace Diane or ruin the planet...But what a way to go!" Full Review

Switzerland
Midtown E
The Wrap

"An editor from a New York publishing house arrives in Switzerland to convince the reclusive and notoriously difficult Patricia Highsmith to write another Tom Ripley novel. That intriguing premise is the subject of Murray-Smith’s ‘Switzerland’...The slowly evolving plot...is something less than ingenious. Murray-Smith almost makes up for those deficiencies by delivering a good twist before the final curtain. Petzold handles the switch with great aplomb. Scott also is a delight to watch." Full Review

The Light
Midtown W
The Wrap

"A fast, sometimes funny, and ultimately furious 70 minutes, and what makes it all the more remarkable is that Webb tells the story of Rashad and Genesis in real time...'The Light' plays host to a number of issues, but what’s really at the core of Webb’s play is the eternal battle of the sexes. Rashad and Genesis can’t help but talk around each other’s pain." Full Review

The Wrap

"How can Ethan Hawke deliver such a grandiose, inspired performance as the bad brother Lee across the stage from a wan, overly ironic performance by Paul Dano that flirts with embodying, but never grabs hold of, the good brother Austin? James Macdonald directs this very unbalanced spectacle...Instead of confronting Lee, Dano’s Austin literally flounces...He’s playing camp while Hawke’s playing real." Full Review

Eddie and Dave
Chelsea
The Wrap

“Staats’ new bio-comedy, ‘Eddie and Dave’, makes spectacular use of its female actors in male roles...Under Bordelon’s super-sharp direction. They startle us by being the little boy that is at the heart of every rock-and-roll star...These female actors also have that androgynous thing down pat...Staats hasn’t found quite the right ending for ‘Eddie and Dave’. The comedy and the chaos tend to dribble off in the last 10 minutes of this 90-minute play.” Full Review

The Wrap

“’Choir Boy’ is laced with music...Pope’s vocals can be more than a little indulgent, which might be the point...’Choir Boy’ ends with one of those gooey emotionally charged moments...It’s patronizing and rings false. Still there’s a real lethal power...McCraney provides an exhilarating ride through the sexually charged atmosphere of locker rooms and dorm rooms...Cullman’s strong direction is emblematic of that strength, driving ‘Choir Boy’ into a fast-moving, testosterone-fueled freight tra... Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
The Wrap

"What’s different about 'Network' on stage, in addition to Cranston’s awesome portrayal, is Ivo van Hove’s very kinetic and immersive direction...The first hour of 'Network' is absolutely mesmerizing...But as with the movie, 'Network' on stage becomes overwhelmed by Chayefsky’s pontificating about the evils of modern society — and Hall isn’t a very judicious editor." Full Review

The Hard Problem
Upper W Side
The Wrap

"Stoppard wows us with his talk of 'neurobiology crossovers' and 'quantum-level brain processes,' but when it comes to developing his characters, he doesn’t bother being subtle or even remotely smart. American equals crass, and British equals…well, those characters are nicer and brighter but sometimes much gooier...What truly pumps Stoppard’s story is the heart he’s grown that’s as big and corny as old Paramount Pictures." Full Review

Toni Stone
Midtown W
The Wrap

"Lydia R. Diamond has written a play that’s very sly, even magnificently off-center, in its presentation of the title character...MacKinnon avoids the trap of so many sports plays, attempting to re-create the suspense of a real game on stage. Camille A. Brown, who provided the wonderful (and Tony-nominated) choreography for another play, 'Choir Boy,' is equally kinetic in her work here. Together, she and MacKinnon give a semblance of the game." Full Review

The Wrap

"Lynn Nottage wrote the book for the new 'Bees' musical, and like Kidd before her, she’s a master of quick resolutions...'Bees,' the musical, needs to keep the heartaches and the horrors coming even faster than the novel and the movie did. How else can you squeeze 17 songs, plus four reprises, into two hours and 20 minutes?...Gold’s staging for 'Bees' is simultaneously bare and messy." Full Review

Dying City
Midtown W
The Wrap

"The defining light that Woodell’s performance throws on this soldier is just how contained some straight men feel they must be, how under wraps they keep their emotions — until something inside them explodes. It’s a trait that Woodell never reduces to a tic or a cliché…Winstead isn’t incompetent or uncomfortable on stage…What’s missing is any development in the character…The war references still resonate, while those regarding the terrorist attack on the city now seem forced.” Full Review

Passage
Soho/Tribeca
The Wrap

"Chen’s use of the letters X and Y gives him enormous freedom, and he uses it to powerful effect. That’s also true of the dozen lettered characters on stage...It’s a credit to Chen’s powers as a writer that each of these encounters immediately engages, and in under an hour, he establishes a wide panorama of a society under siege but still functioning...Much credit here goes to the very understated but immensely empathetic performances delivered by Powell and Moggie." Full Review

The Wrap

"Brightman is a marvel by being blatantly gross. He manages to captivate even when his wink or grimace signals that the jokes are dead on arrival...Eddie Perfect’s score for 'Beetlejuice,' however, is hands down/slit your wrists the worst of the season...Alex Timbers directs Caruso to resemble Millie Perkins in 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' only slightly more sanctimonious...Leslie Kritzer does rise from the dead of this six-feet-under production." Full Review

Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
The Wrap

“Horn supplies a few one-liners that are every bit as funny as the movie’s zingers...This ‘Tootsie’ is also blessed with the awesome Broadway musical debut of Andy Grotelueschen...The show’s problems center on Michael Dorsey, both in and out of his Dorothy Michaels persona...Dorothy is every bit as brazen as when he auditioned as a man...Oddly, 'Tootsie' gives us a sneak peek at the coming cultural phenomenon, white female privilege." Full Review

The Wrap

"Sorry, but Cat lacks the verbal skills of a good writer, not to mention the ballsiness of even a mediocre reporter...Instead of elevating Feiffer’s character, these New Yorker references undermine Feiffer’s writing, which is often breezy and amusing in a dark rom-com kind of way...Feiffer cleverly navigates being both shocked and turned on by her date. She overdoes the mugging, but as an actress she’s very good at playing a young East Coast version of Jennifer Aniston." Full Review

The Wrap

"A clear-eyed, incisive look at one of the most fascinating marriages ever...Metcalf is alternately steely, frantic, no-nonsense, desperate and steadfast — and she makes every one of those transitions while looking simultaneously backward and forward. She’s cautious. She’s deliberate. She’s beyond smart...Joe Mantello directs...He’s the minimalist director who fills the stage with the playwrights’ words and actors’ performances. That’s an especially spectacular achievement here." Full Review

Socrates
East Village
The Wrap

“Nelson, Hughes, Pask, Micoleau and even Zuber are all masters of the theater who know how to grab our attention — even for those who never read Plato...’Socrates’ settles into the expected series of debates...Nelson gives us the most famous suicide. It’s an extended moment in the theater, brilliantly acted in a way that places it outside time and yet opens a window to the very distant past. We witness a death that changed everything. You will want to be there.” Full Review

The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
The Wrap

“Blitzstein isn’t subtle and neither is Doyle...Doyle always seems to capture one truly memorable performance...’Cradle’ doesn’t provide such a star turn, but Pulver mesmerizes...Her scenes with Yazbeck and Eakeley emit a palpable heat. Eakeley and the triple-cast Cooper display great singing voices, and it’s a treat to hear them unamplified. Another effective touch are the four actors who rotate playing the piano.” Full Review

The Wrap

"It’s a tour de force of direction and writing and Devlin’s set rarely rests under Jon Clark’s always dramatic lighting...I learned next to nothing from 'The Lehman Trilogy' about why Lehman Bros. went belly up. But I wasn’t bored. Nor was I riveted... While Beale and Godley are fine playing the adult male Lehmans, their impersonations of women, children and rednecks are sometimes cringe-worthy...Miles delivers everything with the same leaden portentousness." Full Review

The Wrap

"Derrick Baskin’s impersonation of Otis Williams defines the word 'innocuous,' even though late in the musical he is accused of being a control freak...If only Ruffin/Sykes were narrating 'Ain’t Too Proud.' For one thing, we’d be spared the cliched build-up to the group’s success and the endless parade of funerals at the end...McAnuff’s direction of 'Ain’t Too Proud' gives us both the alluring razzle-dazzle and the underlying nightly grind of touring." Full Review

Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Upper W Side
The Wrap

"Larroquette is a magnificent narrator...While attempting to follow the first act’s ever-twisting plot, however, one’s mind may drift to incidental problems with the play and its production. For starters, Jerry Zaks’ direction emphasizes the farcical situations, but most of the eye-popping performances are merely manic and not remotely amusing." Full Review

The Mother
Chelsea
The Wrap

“For 90 minutes or so, we experience what it is to have our mind completely unravel. It’s not unlike the vicarious thrill you get watching a 1970s disaster movie...The difference is, Zeller takes us on a journey far more frightening because it’s far more common and no one survives...Huppert brings her signature icy hauteur to the role...It’s a showy performance, but it allows the actress to cut through her own steeliness, grab us by the hand and explore together a mother’s madness.” Full Review

The Wrap

"Unfortunately, The Squip fails to prevent Jeremy from making the most mundane rhymes when it comes to singing Joe Iconis’ repetitive score...Iconis’ musical score can best be described the way fast-food chains sometimes advertise their processed chicken. It’s crispy. No matter that crispy is neither a flavor nor a tune...These overwrought people on stage recall the street performers in nearby Times Square." Full Review

Superhero
Midtown W
The Wrap

"Pinkham’s glowering presence and delayed timing make this unemployed bus driver alternately creepy and funny, off-putting and compelling, nerdy and appealing...Pinkham is on stage for so much of 'Superhero' that we can ignore the far less interesting Charlotte and Simon...One superhero looks pretty much like another. Only Pinkham is in a class by himself." Full Review

Marys Seacole
Upper W Side
The Wrap

"Both Marys were born in Jamaica, and are played in grand style by Quincy Tyler Bernstine, giving the performance of this winter season in New York City...Bernstine manages the time lapses seamlessly, and is immeasurably aided by Lileana Blain-Cruz’s direction, which is both over-the-top and precisely what a big saga like 'Marys Seacole' requires...The ensuing spectacle of two titanic actors ripping into each other makes riveting theater." Full Review

The Wrap

“The problem is, I didn’t identify with the characters in 1981 and I don’t in 2019, even with age-appropriate actors in the roles. Worse, I don’t find them interesting on any level...Cutting a good half hour out of 'Merrily' doesn’t solve the book’s problems. The cuts simply reduce each scene to a cliché...Brody’s direction doesn’t always make sense...Brody handles the time element with greater ease but little finesse.” Full Review

Sea Wall/A Life
East Village
The Wrap

"Nick Payne and Simon Stephens do their respective one-act monologues no favors by putting them together on a double bill. Even the starry solo turns of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge can’t relieve the monotony of seeing Stephens’ 'Sea Wall' and Payne’s 'A Life' back to back with an intermission...Carrie Cracknell directs 'Sea Wall' with a minimum of fuss. She makes up for that minimalism by pulling out every directorial cliché to stage 'A Life.'" Full Review

The Wrap

“You’ve never met a more determined Eliza Doolittle than Benanti’s...Eliza isn’t an ingénue on the verge of a fabulous new adventure...She sees Higgins as the last best chance to escape her father and life on the street...Benanti has the vocal range...but an idiosyncrasy of her voice is that it takes on a prim, studied quality...This operetta approach worked better in She Loves Me’...A genuine theater legend Harris gives us a definitive Mrs. Higgins.” Full Review

Red State Blue State
West Village
The Wrap

“Despite that title, the former Comedy Central, MTV and SNL star doesn’t take political sides in his gentle diatribe on what’s wrong with America...Quinn is at his funniest when he takes on — no surprise — Donald Trump...Quinn doesn’t even sound that much like the president, but he replicates his one-syllable bombast (“great”) to perfection...’Red State Blue State’ is the ultimate feel-good false-equivalency show.” Full Review

Trick or Treat
Midtown E
The Wrap

"Dunne’s direction never finds the right focus in this short but confused first act...What Neary does pull off with complete success is the surprise appearance of the play’s most talked-about character...Kathy Manfre helps to ground the far more stable second act of Neary’s play...But the twists in the plot keep piling up, pushing 'Trick or Treat' into soap-opera territory...Much of that havoc comes from there being way too much plot." Full Review

Blue Ridge
Chelsea
The Wrap

"The remarkable actor Marin Ireland delivers a big, inventive, overwrought performance that might even be more devastating if it were cut in half...One of the real pleasures of Rosebrock’s writing is that, while Ireland’s Alison has more Appalachian twang than a half-dozen hillbillies, she’s one of the smartest characters on the stage...What is perfectly developed are Alison’s razor-precise and spot-on attacks on the pervasive male patriarchy surrounding her, and smothering her." Full Review

The Wrap

"Watching 'The Cher Show' is as much fun as watching old network TV. The jokes are lame, segues between scenes are blunt or nonexistent, and a general lack of inventiveness pervades the entire enterprise. Only one dance number manages to replicate the kind of grand, fun-loving awfulness that Cher brought to wearing Bob Mackie’s impressively tacky gowns...The real star is Block, who may be the best impersonator the Broadway stage has seen in recent memory." Full Review

Downstairs
West Village
The Wrap

"Rebeck’s new play ‘Downstairs’...it’s a very exceptional thriller — one that’s distinguished, in part, because you don’t know it’s a thriller until Rebeck and director Campbell-Holt send out their first shock wave...Has two or three steps up or down a staircase ever provoked such a gasp from the audience? Hitchcock did it in 'Psycho' and 'The Birds.' Rebeck and Campbell-Holt do it with 'Downstairs.'" Full Review